NBA free agency 2021: How Chris Paul's return shifts the Phoenix Suns' road map

Sports

ESPN 02 August, 2021 - 08:50pm 27 views

Is Chris Paul a free agent?

Chris Paul is re-signing with the Phoenix Suns on a four-year deal worth up to $120 million, according to Yahoo's Chris Haynes. Paul originally had a $44 million player option with the Suns for next season, but decided to decline it and officially become a free agent. CBSSports.comNBA free agency 2021: Chris Paul to re-sign with Suns on four-year deal worth up to $120 million, per report

Japan’s Olympic Games still have a week to go, but from a television ratings perspective we already know that they are a relative disaster for the NBC network. So far, ratings are down about 40% from the previous summer games in 2016, and have lost more than half of the audience from the 2012 games in London.

Much like the epic ratings collapse of the Academy Awards from earlier this year, there are multiple explanations for what is going on, and many of the most significant are largely being missed. As usual, those with a political agenda are focusing on too much on factors which fit their desired reality.

Much of the liberal news media seems to want to avoid any real discussion of the negative impact of “woke” politics and extreme Covid restrictions (which are directly related), and instead place the blame on changing television viewing habits and “cord-cutting.” While the right-wing media has gleefully jumped all over the idea that America has rejected the liberal politics of many of the athletes and those running the games.

To be clear, both of these causes are legitimate issues, but hardly the primary problem. Streaming numbers are included in the television ratings, and “wokeness” hasn’t yet had nearly the same dramatic impact on the NBA or NFL viewership, despite both leagues now effectively being part of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

Here are the other elements which had at least as much, if not more, of an impact on the remarkable erosion in the audience for this year’s Olympics.

Going into the games, one of the few household names (in an era when it is nearly impossible for an Olympic athlete to become one while still having another Olympics ahead of them) among the American athletes was gymnast Simone Biles. When she quit due to mental stress (and was, bizarrely, turned into a hero for doing so by most of the sports media), it was emblematic of NBC’s huge star problem. We are simply much more likely to watch the famous than non-famous, which is why I am of the belief that this year’s diminished Super Bowl ratings, despite having an aging Tom Brady as the winning quarterback, were much more concerning than perceived.

The Olympics are supposed to be a celebration, but due to often insane and competition-altering Covid-related restrictions (by the way, shouldn’t Japan, which fully embraced the “magic” of masks from the start, be way ahead of the recovery process, and not far behind?!) these games are downright morbid and sapped of any energy or joy. Not having spectators, even at perfectly safe outside of events like golf, is like watching a rock concert or a stand-up comedian without a crowd — it simply doesn’t work. Just try to imagine Al Michaels’ iconic “Do you believe in miracles?!” call from the 1980 Olympics if that had happened with an empty arena as a backdrop.

These games were postponed from 2020 due to concerns about the pandemic, which not only offset the natural rhythm of the Olympics (the next one is only three years away!), but also inadvertently exposed their lack of importance. After all, since the games are now being held under the exact same state of the pandemic and restrictions which would have been present in 2020 (in other words, waiting for vaccines did almost nothing to allow for a real Olympics to be held), and those games were cancelled, obviously they are — much like we learned about public schooling during the pandemic — not really all that significant.

Sports, especially in the era of instant information, is obviously a far more compelling watch when it is live than when it is on tape and the results are therefore easily known. Because Japan is on almost the exact opposite clock as the United States, very few live events can be televised in primetime here, and this clearly harms ratings.

Network executives have long ago abandoned the “less is more” theory of television coverage of big events, and NBC splintering its own programing over dozens of different television and streaming outlets throughout the entire day is clearly within this philosophy. But lost is the imperative to watch NBC’s primetime programing and, with it, the sense of anything being “must watch” television because everyone else is watching the same event at the same time. As we have seen with the theater movie business, once something loses the status of a “communal event,” the decline in interest for it can be exponential.

Humans are more likely to do something if they think those in their “tribe” are also doing it. Conversely, when most of the people we know are not watching the Olympics, and no one event is generating enough interest to even dominate the trends on social media, the casual viewer is going to fall by the wayside. Once that happens at the start of a long event like an Olympics — meaning fewer people are hooked into the “mini-series” and exposed to promotions for future events — and the stench of ratings death is palpable, the audience is destined to continue to erode (the ratings for these closing ceremonies, for instance, will surely be relatively tiny).

Even in a year not ruined by Covid restrictions, much of what made the Olympics special to begin with is now mostly gone. Almost none of the top athletes are “amateurs” any more, and much like with what will now eventually happen with college sports, the magic which goes along with that has now faded away. Also, now that the television ratings for the games have diminished so significantly, there is now very little chance of an American athlete’s life truly radically changing overnight (for instance, for better or worse, if Bruce Jenner had won the Olympic decathlon in 2016 instead of 1976, no one would care that he would eventually become Caitlyn Jenner and run for governor of California). Once you sell out and kill your “Golden Goose,” there is usually no regaining that mystique, and the ratings for this Olympics indicate that this reality will haunt both the games and NBC at least through the duration of their contract, which ends in 2032.

Have a tip or story idea? Email us. Or to keep it anonymous, click here.

Read full article at ESPN

Opinion: Why NBC's Olympic Ratings Are a Disaster, and Why It Matters

Bleacher Report 02 August, 2021 - 11:46am

Japan’s Olympic Games still have a week to go, but from a television ratings perspective we already know that they are a relative disaster for the NBC network. So far, ratings are down about 40% from the previous summer games in 2016, and have lost more than half of the audience from the 2012 games in London.

Much like the epic ratings collapse of the Academy Awards from earlier this year, there are multiple explanations for what is going on, and many of the most significant are largely being missed. As usual, those with a political agenda are focusing on too much on factors which fit their desired reality.

Much of the liberal news media seems to want to avoid any real discussion of the negative impact of “woke” politics and extreme Covid restrictions (which are directly related), and instead place the blame on changing television viewing habits and “cord-cutting.” While the right-wing media has gleefully jumped all over the idea that America has rejected the liberal politics of many of the athletes and those running the games.

To be clear, both of these causes are legitimate issues, but hardly the primary problem. Streaming numbers are included in the television ratings, and “wokeness” hasn’t yet had nearly the same dramatic impact on the NBA or NFL viewership, despite both leagues now effectively being part of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

Here are the other elements which had at least as much, if not more, of an impact on the remarkable erosion in the audience for this year’s Olympics.

Going into the games, one of the few household names (in an era when it is nearly impossible for an Olympic athlete to become one while still having another Olympics ahead of them) among the American athletes was gymnast Simone Biles. When she quit due to mental stress (and was, bizarrely, turned into a hero for doing so by most of the sports media), it was emblematic of NBC’s huge star problem. We are simply much more likely to watch the famous than non-famous, which is why I am of the belief that this year’s diminished Super Bowl ratings, despite having an aging Tom Brady as the winning quarterback, were much more concerning than perceived.

The Olympics are supposed to be a celebration, but due to often insane and competition-altering Covid-related restrictions (by the way, shouldn’t Japan, which fully embraced the “magic” of masks from the start, be way ahead of the recovery process, and not far behind?!) these games are downright morbid and sapped of any energy or joy. Not having spectators, even at perfectly safe outside of events like golf, is like watching a rock concert or a stand-up comedian without a crowd — it simply doesn’t work. Just try to imagine Al Michaels’ iconic “Do you believe in miracles?!” call from the 1980 Olympics if that had happened with an empty arena as a backdrop.

These games were postponed from 2020 due to concerns about the pandemic, which not only offset the natural rhythm of the Olympics (the next one is only three years away!), but also inadvertently exposed their lack of importance. After all, since the games are now being held under the exact same state of the pandemic and restrictions which would have been present in 2020 (in other words, waiting for vaccines did almost nothing to allow for a real Olympics to be held), and those games were cancelled, obviously they are — much like we learned about public schooling during the pandemic — not really all that significant.

Sports, especially in the era of instant information, is obviously a far more compelling watch when it is live than when it is on tape and the results are therefore easily known. Because Japan is on almost the exact opposite clock as the United States, very few live events can be televised in primetime here, and this clearly harms ratings.

Network executives have long ago abandoned the “less is more” theory of television coverage of big events, and NBC splintering its own programing over dozens of different television and streaming outlets throughout the entire day is clearly within this philosophy. But lost is the imperative to watch NBC’s primetime programing and, with it, the sense of anything being “must watch” television because everyone else is watching the same event at the same time. As we have seen with the theater movie business, once something loses the status of a “communal event,” the decline in interest for it can be exponential.

Humans are more likely to do something if they think those in their “tribe” are also doing it. Conversely, when most of the people we know are not watching the Olympics, and no one event is generating enough interest to even dominate the trends on social media, the casual viewer is going to fall by the wayside. Once that happens at the start of a long event like an Olympics — meaning fewer people are hooked into the “mini-series” and exposed to promotions for future events — and the stench of ratings death is palpable, the audience is destined to continue to erode (the ratings for these closing ceremonies, for instance, will surely be relatively tiny).

Even in a year not ruined by Covid restrictions, much of what made the Olympics special to begin with is now mostly gone. Almost none of the top athletes are “amateurs” any more, and much like with what will now eventually happen with college sports, the magic which goes along with that has now faded away. Also, now that the television ratings for the games have diminished so significantly, there is now very little chance of an American athlete’s life truly radically changing overnight (for instance, for better or worse, if Bruce Jenner had won the Olympic decathlon in 2016 instead of 1976, no one would care that he would eventually become Caitlyn Jenner and run for governor of California). Once you sell out and kill your “Golden Goose,” there is usually no regaining that mystique, and the ratings for this Olympics indicate that this reality will haunt both the games and NBC at least through the duration of their contract, which ends in 2032.

Have a tip or story idea? Email us. Or to keep it anonymous, click here.

Sports Stories